It was back in January 2015 when I had a very memorable and delicious meal at the now Michelin starred restaurant Portland. A chargrilled fallow deer and chestnut miso that created a love of venison that is still going strong. I think this was only a couple of weeks after it had opened its doors and I devastatingly haven’t been able to secure another booking since due to its understandable popularity.
Luckily last summer they opened a sister restaurant Clipstone. Easier to book, more casual vibes and located just around the corner from Portland, I have had the pleasure of spending a boozy summer brunch and a autumnal dinner at last year that both ended the same way: with that famous Paris-Brest.
Brunch started with a delicate Japanese bloody Mary that introduced me to the realisation that bloody Mary’s are bloody marvellous and why had I been avoiding them all this time. Moving on to the food, instead of the usual brunch affair of lacklustre avocado toast, here you will find stunning dishes that will challenge your conception of what brunch can be. Smoked eggs with wild mushrooms on flatbread, rillets of pork and foie gras with colourful pickles and sourdough. A star of the small plates was the delicious salt cod brandade with roasted beetroot that took me straight back to the restaurants of Venice.
After the small plates we moved on to a sweet and creamy sourdough flatbread – almost pizza like, topped with Ryefield cheese and colourful courgette with marjoram and honey. This was complimented with a side of tomatoes with raspberries, basil and fermented tomato juice.
For the autumnal dinner, with the setting adapting itself from a chic airy brunch space to a cosy more serious restaurant, we dined on the selection of house pickles which its presentation like most dishes here, is a satisfying treat for your eyes. Another memorable dish was the beautiful crudo of halibut with sour cream, topped with a layer of thin radish and speckled with hearing roe. The standout was the scallops with puy lentils, brown butter and dill. Scallop perfection to rival that of the one scallop three of us once shared at The clove club at a slightly ludicrous price, that was however ludicrously delicious. Both meals at Clipstone ended with the heavily instagramed Paris-Beast, all I can say is you will not be disappointed.